One man's random pile of wood, pulleys, cables and motors is another man's giant mechanical rabbit capable of projecting a marble into a tiny blue box from a mile away. That second man needs to play Apparatus, the physics building game for Android phones and tablets.
In the grand tradition of The Incredible Machine's elaborate Rube Goldberg puzzles, Apparatus tasks the player with creating overly elaborate mechanical devices for the sole purpose of propelling one or more marbles into a goal box. Rather than supplying the player with whimsical tools like rockets and mice on treadmills, Apparatus sticks with simple materials: wood, metal and rubber, connected with bolts and screws.
Early levels are simple affairs, familiarising the player with the game's controls and mechanics by having them place a single bit of wood to channel the marble towards the finish line. Soon the player is fastening bits of wood together with nails. As the game progresses more and more pieces are introduced and it becomes less a matter of finding the solution and more about finding your solution.
Apparatus isn't just about solving puzzles, however. It's also about building. A sandbox mode gives players free reign to create their own elaborate levels, sharing them online with other players via an easy-to-use community interface.
Developer Bithack still has a lot of work to do on Apparatus. You'll encounter the odd bug, and some of the interface elements aren't quite finished yet. While normally I would suggest waiting for a game to be finished before purchasing, the introductory beta price of $1.92 (thanks silly Android market pricing!) is a ridiculous bargain for how much game Apparatus delivers.
Apparatus [Android Market]